27 March 2017

We're Breezy | Changing Our Bahamas Cruising Plans

Making our way from Indiantown Marina to the St Lucie Lock

“Yeah, we won’t cross over to the Bahamas tomorrow. It’s no big deal. After all, we’re breezy,” Scott said to me the other day as we were sitting in the cockpit of our boat in Lake Worth sipping on sundowners.

I almost snorted my gin and tonic out of my nose when he used the phrase “we’re breezy.” After all, this is a rather stoic guy from North Dakota we're taking about who isn’t known for using flowery phrases like “we’re breezy.” He tends to go with more ordinary phrases like “yes,” “no,” and “it’s okay.” Except when he’s trying to make me laugh. Then he says silly things. Sometimes, he makes silly faces. When he says silly things while making a silly face, that’s even better.

He knew I needed a good laugh because after weeks working on boat projects at Indiantown Marina, we were both really eager to cross over from Lake Worth to the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas. We had been watching the weather and thought we would have a window to make the crossing the next day. And, we probably could have done it. The winds would have been coming from the right direction and the waves would have been manageable. But there were some serious winds due to come in after we made it to the Abacos and we could have been caught out in them without a good, sheltered anchorage to hide out in.

“Silly girl,” I hear you saying. “Why didn’t you just cross to the West End, book a slip in a marina, clear customs and immigration there and hang out until the weather got better before you headed onwards in the Abacos?”

That’s a really easy question to answer:

We’re cheap. Why pay for a marina when you can anchor for free?

We toyed with the idea of making the crossing, skipping Mangrove Cay (because it doesn’t provide much protection) and heading to Great Sale Cay where we could get protection from northerly winds. It sounded great in theory, but we worried that the anchorage would be full and we’d be out of luck as there’s no bailout option nearby.

We also toyed with the idea of trying to outrun the weather and keep going past Great Sale Cay and trying to make it to another anchorage further along the Abacos. But trying to outrun weather on very little sleep wasn’t really appealing. (Last time we crossed, it took us 21 hours to reach Mangrove Cay and getting to Great Sale Cay and beyond would have added on many more hours to our passage.)

After talking that all through, we decided to “be breezy” and change our plans. As much as we both wanted to get over to the Bahamas as soon as possible, we opted to skip the Abacos and head further south to the Miami/Key Biscayne area to wait for the next weather window and cross over to Bimini instead.

It’s actually a clever phrase he used – “we’re breezy” – because it actually all comes down to the wind. Too much wind from the wrong direction is a bad thing. That’s the thing about cruising – you’re not really in control, nature is.

As we continued to sip on our sundowners that night, we talked about how much this reminded us of our cruising days in New Zealand. There were many, many days when we were stuck in anchorages or had to change where we were headed to because of the weather.

So that’s where things are at with us. After leaving Indiantown Marina, we spent our first night anchored west of the St Lucie Lock (having missed the last lock of the day), then made our way the next day down to Lake Worth and hung out for a couple of days waiting to cross to the Abacos. It will be interesting to see where we end up next. Will we make our way down to Miami/Key Biscayne and cross to Bimini? Or will we do something completely different? All I know is that no matter what we end up doing, we’ll try to be breezy about it.

Derelict boat seen on the way to the St Lucie Lock.

Our first night at anchor at the St Lucie Lock.

Macshack - a boat we know from Indiantown Marina, tied up at the campground across from the St Lucie Lock.

Tickety Boo with her headsail up.

Cruising Log | Thursday, 9 March 2017 – Sunday, 12 March 2017

Left Indiantown Marina at 2:10 PM with a fabulous sendoff from our friends. Anchored at St Lucie Locks at 5:20 PM. Stuff broke. Nautical Miles = 12. Engine = 3 hrs 30 mins

Anchor up at 7:15 AM, went through locks at 7:30 AM. Easy peasy. Put up headsail on St Lucie River and turned off the engine. Yay, Tickety Boo remembers how to sail. Can’t say as much for me. Thought about anchoring at Peck Lake, but too crowded. Lots of bridges between Stuart and Lake Worth. Bridges are annoying, especially when you miss the opening by minutes. Anchor down in Lake Worth (south of Peanut Island) at 6:00 PM. More stuff broke. Nautical Miles = 41. Engine =  9 hrs 45 mins. Spending = Nil.

Lazed about. Tried to fix the stuff that broke. More stuff broke. Got organized for the crossing. Nautical Miles = 0. Engine = 0 hrs. Spending = Nil.

Dragged anchor at 10:15 AM. Reset anchor at 10:30 AM. This was the first time that we’ve ever dragged anchor. Not a whole lot of fun. Crazy winds and current at Lake Worth. The windlass decided to start working again. Then it decided to stop working again. Stupid windlass. Decided not to cross to the Abacos. Nautical  Miles = 0 NM. Engine = 0 hrs. Spending = Nil.

Do you like it when your plans change due to things outside of your control (like the weather)? Are you breezy about it?

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  1. Breezy. I kind of like that. I'll see if I can work it into my vocabulary.

  2. Be stressed and stagnant or be breezy!
    Hope you get to cross soon. Hey, at least you are our of Indiantown, right?

  3. Nope, not breezy about it. I do a lot of glaring at whatever the problem is (the sky, the windlass) and believe the universe has specifically conspired against me. It's hard to go with the flow sometimes!

    1. Oh dear... This sounds an awful lot like me! The glaring and staring and conspiring...

  4. I am so not breezy...but I wish I were.

    That pic of the derelict boat makes me think of something from The Walking Dead. Shudder!

    Have a safe trip!

  5. We're pretty breezy when it comes to having our plans changed by the weather. Sometimes it's harder than others, but it all seems to work out in the end. Fingers crossed that the weather down there improves!

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

  6. Breezy as a free spirit.

    May the weather cooperate soon.

  7. We are breezy about changed plans on our boat. Things happen and it's always safety first. We adapt to whatever happens and relax until we can move on. It appears you both do the same. Good for you.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  8. Hope the voyage is going well with less requirement for "breezy".

  9. I hope you have a most safe and enjoyable time! And I don't blame you for anchoring for free...why not if you can? Enjoy! :)

  10. I can breezy, but it comes with an element of stress. Given, I try to not have concrete plans on vacations anymore. Enjoy the rest of the trek! Hopefully nothing else breaks.

  11. Well, I wish I could take a leaf from Scott's book on Breezy! I'm so not there yet, and take each weather setback as a personal affront... I need to get breezy!

  12. Good call. Trying to outrun weather can turn south very quickly! Stay safe and we hope to run into you before we make our way back to Indiantown! Oh... and that derelict boat has been there since at least last spring when we passed by!

  13. As an FYI - Great Sale Cay has a lot of room for plenty of boats. I can't imagine it could be overcrowded. There is plenty of space. If you sail there you can check in at Green Turtle Cay - Much easier and nicer than Westend.

    Mark and Cindy
    sv Cream Puff

  14. It all starts with you guys getting off the dock in Indiantown. Then, it is day by day, keeping an eye on the weather and making calculated decisions. I'd say so far, you are doing well! :-) We never stay in marinas either, only when it is needed for a certain boat project. Not only is it cheaper at anchor, but it is also breezier. :-)

  15. Breezy or not it must be great to be on the move again.

  16. When travel is part of the plan, when the getting there is half the fun, I don't mind delays. They offer more opportunity to explore where I already am. If I am working on a shorter window for travel time, if I have to be somewhere, it can be infuriating.


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